On this page: Background Summary Contents Related Links Reviews, Criticism and Analysis
On related pages: Frequently Asked Questions Chronology of Events in the Story
Atlas Shrugged is Rand's magnum opus. It is her last, longest, most philosophically detailed, and in the opinion of many, best novel. Since its publication in 1957, it has been her best-selling book.
The plot is framed as a mystery story, but with strong elements of romance and science fiction, as well as Rand's trademark philosophical ideas. There are actually two mysteries: one about why so many of the world's most productive minds are disappearing, the other about who invented a revolutionary new kind of motor. As you might guess, the solutions to the two mysteries are closely related. Readers follow the struggles of Dagny Taggart, a railroad executive, and Hank Rearden, a steel magnate, as they attempt to answer both of these questions and stave off the collapse of an increasingly irrational and collectivist society.
- Introduction to the 35th Anniversary Edition (by Leonard Peikoff)
Part 1: Non-Contradiction
- The Theme
- The Chain
- The Top and the Bottom
- The Immovable Movers
- The Climax of the D'Anconias
- The Non-Commercial
- The Exploiters and the Exploited
- The John Galt Line
- The Sacred and the Profane
- Wyatt's Torch
Part 2: Either-Or
- The Man Who Belonged on Earth
- The Aristocracy of Pull
- White Blackmail
- The Sanction of the Victim
- Account Overdrawn
- Miracle Metal
- The Moratorium on Brains
- By Our Love
- The Face Without Pain or Fear or Guilt
- The Sign of the Dollar
Part 3: A is A
- The Utopia of Greed
- Their Brothers' Keepers
- The Concerto of Deliverance
- "This is John Galt Speaking"
- The Egoist
- The Generator
- In the Name of the Best Within Us
- The Atlas Shrugged FAQ answers some of the common questions about the book.
- The Atlas Shrugged Chronology provides the events of the novel in a sequential timeline.
- Excerpts: A number of excerpts of Atlas Shrugged are available online from various sources:
- Study Guides: The following may be useful as guides for students or others:
- The CliffsNotes volume on Atlas Shrugged is available online.
- Detailed plot summaries, analysis and other materials are available from SparkNotes. Access to some materials requires free registration. A printed version is also available for purchase.
- Wikipedia provides extensive material on Atlas Shrugged, including a section by section plot summary, character descriptions, and thematic analysis. Wikibooks has similarly detailed material.
- A reading group guide from publisher Penguin-Putnam includes discussion questions, a brief biography, and an interview with Leonard Peikoff.
- The section on Atlas Shrugged from Gale's Novels for Students series can be purchased for download, or for twice the price, the same material can be accessed online via Enotes (limited excerpts available free).
- The Ayn Rand Institute runs an annual essay contest for college undergraduates, with topics based on the novel (similar contests are offered based on other Rand novels).
- An account of an Atlas and the World conference held to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the novel's publication. The comments of several of the speakers are available from the Cato Institute, a co-sponsor of the event.
- One reader explains the meanings of the chapter titles.
- Another reader summarizes each chapter.
- Fan page for John Galt
- Outline of Galt's speech with references for more detailed study
- The rights to produce Atlas Shrugged as a movie or television mini-series were sold years ago, but nothing has ever been produced. Unofficial updates on the status of a prospective movie or mini-series are available at Atlas Shrugged Movie News site.
- Description of a role playing game based on Atlas Shrugged.
Links followed by this symbol are for documents in Adobe PDF (Acrobat) format, which requires Adobe Reader for viewing.
The following perspectives on this book are available online:
The following are parodies or humorous treatments of this book:
- James T. Baker, Ayn Rand (1987)
- Andrew Bernstein, CliffsNotes: Rand's Atlas Shrugged (2000)
- Thomas F. Bertonneau, "Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: from romantic fallacy to holocaustic imagination," Modern Age (Fall 2004)
- Ruth Chapin Blackman, "Controversial Books by Ayn Rand and Caitlin Thomas," Christian Science Monitor (October 10, 1957)
- Nathaniel Branden, "The Moral Revolution in Atlas Shrugged," in Who Is Ayn Rand? (1962)
- John Chamberlain, "Ayn Rand's Political Parable and Thundering Melodrama," New York Herald Tribune (October 6, 1957)
- Whittaker Chambers, "Big Sister is Watching You," National Review (December 28, 1957)
- Patricia Donegan, "A Point of View," Commonweal (November 8, 1957)
- James Fallows, "Liberals and Ayn Rand," The Washington Monthly (1975)
- Mimi Reisel Gladstein, The Ayn Rand Companion (1984)
- Mimi Reisel Gladstein, The New Ayn Rand Companion (1999)
- Mimi Reisel Gladstein, "Ayn Rand and Feminism: An Unlikely Alliance," in Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, edited by Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra (1999)
- Mimi Reisel Gladstein, Atlas Shrugged: Manifesto of the Mind (2000)
- Richard O. Hammer, "Review: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand," Formulations 3:2 (Winter 1995-96)
- Granville Hicks, "A Parable of Buried Talents," The New York Times Book Review (October 13, 1957)
- John Hospers, "Atlas Shrugged: A Twentieth Anniversary Tribute," Libertarian Review 6:6 (October 1977)
- Riley Hughes, "Novels Reviewed," Catholic World (January 1958)
- Robert Hunt, "Science Fiction for the Age of Inflation: Reading Atlas Shrugged in the 1980s," in Coordinates: Placing Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by George E. Slusser, Eric S. Rabkin, and Robert Scholes (1983)
- Donald Malcolm, "The New Rand Atlas," The New Yorker (October 26, 1957)
- Richard McLaughlin, "The Lady Has a Message ..." The American Mercury (January 1958)
- Ronald E. Merrill, The Ideas of Ayn Rand (1991)
- Karen Michalson, "Who Is Dagny Taggart? The Epic Hero/ine in Disguise," in Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, edited by Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra (1999)
- Stacey Olster, "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something (Red, White, and) Blue: Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Objectivist Ideology," in The Other Fifties: Interrogating Midcentury American Icons, edited by Joel Foreman (1997)
- Charles Rolo, "Comes the Revolution," Atlantic Monthly (November 1957)
- Mark Skousen, "'Atlas Shrugged' -- 50 years later," The Christian Science Monitory (March 6, 2007)
- Terry Teachout, "The old girl, still kickin'," National Review (November 19, 2007)
- Charles Wieder, "Who Is Dagny Taggart?," Objectivity 2:6 (1998)
- Judith Wilt, "On Atlas Shrugged," in Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand, edited by Mimi Reisel Gladstein and Chris Matthew Sciabarra (1999)
- Helen Beal Woodward, "Non-Stop Daydream," Saturday Review (October 12, 1957)
- Edward W. Younkins, "Atlas Shrugged Revisited: Forty Years of Voicing the Philosophy of Freedom," The Freeman 47:5 (May 1997)
- Edward W. Younkins (editor), Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion (2007)
- "Book Event," Human Events 14:53 (1957)
- "No Walls Will Fall," Newsweek (October 14, 1957)
- "The Solid-Gold Dallar Sign," Time (October 14, 1957)
Additional keywords: Ann Rand, Anne Rand, Ayn Rad, Ayn Ran, Any Rand, Atlas Shrugged by Ann Rand, Alas Shrugged, Atlas Shugged, Atlas Shruged, critical analysis, critical reviews, commentary
About the Objectivism Reference Center
The philosophy of Ayn Rand, a twentieth-century novelist and philosopher, is known as Objectivism. The Objectivism Reference Center provides resources about Rand, her ideas, her works, and places where those are discussed and debated. Visit the Site Information page for details on site policies. Suggestions for additional materials or additional links are welcomed.
Copyright © 1999-2009 by Richard Lawrence. All rights reserved.